NetWatch

Science  12 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5541, pp. 271
  1. EDUCATION: The Human Story

    For three generations, members of the famous Leakey family have been uncovering one spectacular hominid fossil after another in the badlands of East Africa. While highlighting its own work sponsoring research, the San Francisco-based Leakey Foundation has also put together some helpful general resources on anthropology, archaeology, and primatology. The newly revamped site's premier feature is the interactive timeline that covers discoveries in human origins stretching back to 1847. You can also search the illustrated glossary, peruse brief biographies of Louis, Mary, Richard, and other Leakeys, or submit a question for an expert.

    Another attraction is the audio clips of eminent researchers discussing their work. Hear the late Dian Fossey describe her first encounters with mountain gorillas, for example, or venture with Donald Johanson into the Afar region of Ethiopia, where in 1974 he unearthed the diminutive hominid known as Lucy.

    leakeyfoundation.org

  2. LINKS: Make or Break

    Structural geologists are the kind of experts you'd want with you on your next vacation through the Southwest. They can explain how rock formations fold, warp, tilt, and break to produce that striking roadside scenery. The Structural Geology Page, run by geologist Kevin Smart of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, rounds up a variety of useful software, images, and databases along with the usual links to societies, research groups, and job listings.

    A good starting point is the section on plate tectonics, where you can check out links such as the Paleomap Project, which has animations depicting the wanderings of the continents over the last billion years. In the software section you'll find plenty of free programs for strain analysis, animating fault movements, and teaching. If you're interested in how stable the ground is beneath your feet, check out the World Stress Map, a project in Germany that offers data and maps of tectonic stress measurements from around the globe. The site also links to a number of rich image galleries. For instance, check out computer-generated landscapes by Stephen Reynolds of Arizona State University in Tempe, such as this aerial view of Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah.

    geology.ou.edu/∼ksmart/structure_webpage

  3. RESOURCES: The Zebrafish Zone

    With its fast-growing, transparent embryos, the zebrafish has become a favorite for charting development. For the developmental biologists, geneticists, and others scrutinizing this small fish, the Zebrafish Information Network nets a rich catch of resources—from a jobs board to a pathology service for diagnosing mysterious aquarium deaths. The core of ZFIN, created by zebrafish mavens at the University of Oregon, Eugene, is a humongous database of gene and other info to which registered users contribute. There you can angle for particular genes or mutants, scan the fish's genetic map, troll a bibliography holding nearly 3400 abstracts, or track down specific labs or researchers.

    Elsewhere on the site there's a labeled atlas of developmental stages that offers photos so detailed you can zoom in on individual cells. And a helpful guide covers the intricacies of raising, breeding, and studying zebrafish, from in vitro fertilization to histology.

    zfin.org

  4. DATABASE: Bug-Eat-Bug World

    With an eye to improving biocontrol of pests and sparking research on potential risks, researchers at the University of Illinois compiled this global database of arthropod pathogens. The records, which cover nearly 8500 kinds of pathogens and more than 4100 hosts, allow you to identify which type of bug is known to attack a particular species of arthropod.

    You can search by type of pathogen—fungus, bacterium, virus, protozoan, or nematode—or by host. Results provide the taxonomy of pathogen and host, the life stage and tissues affected, the host's habitat, and the identities of any intermediate hosts, as well as a list of references. Another handy feature allows you to eliminate unlikely candidates for biocontrol efforts by searching for pathogens that have failed to produce infection in laboratory tests.

    insectweb.inhs.uiuc.edu/Pathogens/EDWIP/index.html

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